Why is There a Picnic in My Parking Spot?

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Park(ing) in Park Slope, Brooklyn, May 6, 2006. The sign says, "Public space reclamation in progress."

Today is International Park(ing) Day, the day when urban dwellers all around the world reclaim on-street parking spaces for purposes more creative and life-affirming than private motor vehicle storage. If you found a bunch of kids playing in an available local parking spot on a grassy, sod carpet, that’s why.

Addendum: Transportation Alternatives organized New York City’s first Park(ing) event in October 2005. And while Oklahoma City residents staged a similar event in 1935 to protest the introduction of the first parking meters, the generally acknowledged first modern Park(ing) squat took place in Oxford, England in 2003 when a family installed a complete living room in the middle of a residential street and watched Wimbledon on the telly. That particular event ended after an angry local motorist ran his car into their sideboard.

This year, Park(ing) Day started off as a one-off art project in San Francisco just two years ago and has emerged as a widespread grassroots movement to take back city streets from the automobile. There will 50 Park(ing) events in San Francisco, 28 in New York City and scores more in cities all around the world. Streetsblog is looking for photos of Park(ing) events around the city. Please send them to tips@streetsblog.org.

Here’s where Park(ing) events are planned in the five boroughs:

The Bronx

  • High Bridge Area
  • Southern Blvd. & E. 163rd St.

Brooklyn

  • Seventh Av. & 1st St.
  • Bedford Av. bet. N. 4th & 7th Sts.
  • Carlton & DeKalb Aves.
  • Cortelyou Rd.
  • Myrtle Av. bet. Washington & Waverly Aves.

Manhattan

  • Columbus Av. bet. 83rd & 84th Sts.
  • Rockefeller Plaza
  • Times Square
  • Lincoln Center
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Astor Place
  • 1st St. & First Av.
  • Penn Station
  • Stuyvesant
  • 9th St. & Third Av.
  • Houston St. bet. Second & Third Aves.
  • Broadway bet. 113th & 114th Sts.
  • Midtown TBA
  • 563 Columbus Av. (at 87th St.)
  • Seventh Av. bet. 24th & 26th Sts.
  • Seventh Av. & Charles St.

Queens

  • Western Jackson Heights
  • TBA in Astoria

Staten Island

  • Everything Goes Book Cafe in Tompkinsville
  • 3 Central Av. near Library

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